Locked in Diatonic hell.

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by papersoul, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    Does anyone else feel locked in a pattern such as the diatonic or pentatonic forms? I can't seem to break out of this. I was watching a George Lynch instructional video this evening and wondering where he pulls these notes from half the time but still sound good together. I watch him do this run E,G,B,C,B,D,Gb......not in that exact order, kind of pivoting off the B and E on different strings but it worked. Seems like a few keys thrown together! Ugh.....I wish I could do that when soloing and get out of these boxes I play in. Anyone else trapped? Anyway out!? LOL.

    Actually looks like it could be the key of G.
     
  2. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Yeah those notes are just in G Major/ E minor. But George Lynch, like Rhoads liked to use the blues note a lot mixed in with a natural minor. Try that for starters. any note on the fretboard works, as long as you resolve it well.

    Heck look at the symmetrical patterns that EVH or Dimebag used. Not in key at all, but they played it with conviction and it sounded great.
     
  3. Swain

    Swain Member

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  4. JonR

    JonR Member

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    The way I like to think is in a 4-level hierarchy of notes, which includes all 12 possible notes.

    1. The tones of the current triad. Root, 3rd, 5th. The most "inside" sound. (But also the safest or dullest.)
    2. The other 2 notes of the root pentatonic. That's 2nd and 6th for a major chord, or 4th and 7th for a minor. Always fit, always make good-sounding extensions on the chord.
    3. The other 2 notes of the overall diatonic key scale (the key the whole sequence is in). That's 4th and 7th added to a major pent, or 2nd and 6th on a minor pent. These are the "character" notes that define the mode (4 or #4? maj7 or b7? etc), but don't always sound good - one or two of them are dissonant "avoid notes", best used only in passing.
    4. The remaining 5 chromatic notes. These are the most "outside", all of them "wrong notes" relative to the key - but they can all be used in various ways. Mostly in passing between "good" notes (levels #1 or #2 above), but occasionally can be stressed for dramatic effect.

    So all 12 notes are usable at any time. But it's all about "inside" vs "outside". These 4 levels describe how the notes relate to the harmonic context (which changes as the sequence progresses of course). You can stay safely "inside" (levels 1 and 2) or you can be more daring and venture into levels 3 and 4.

    NB (1): too much of levels 3 and 4, and it will sound like you're playing wrong notes. The foundation in levels 1 and 2 has to be clear for levels 3 and 4 to work as contrast.

    NB (2); this only describes note relationships with each CHORD. There are also relationships with the key centre (tonic) which remain true "under" or "behind" each chord. Eg, a B note can be the 3rd in the key of G; but also a maj7 if the chord is C, or a 5th if the chord is Em. The note has a passing character (or colour) on each chord, but retains its identity relative to the tonic.
    It is possible - as we all know - to play as if chords other than the tonic don't exist. This is what we do in blues. We would use A minor pent (or blues scale) in the key of A, regardless of whether a D or E chord was happening at that moment.
    We can also use a tonic major pent in the same way (A major pent over A D and E major chords), for a different kind of sound. (Suits soul/gospel-style ballads.)

    But if you are already familiar with this way of soloing - and finding it limiting - then you need to try following the changes. Play through the chord sequence several times (rhythm, not soloing), using all the possible shapes for each chord that you can find. Think about the scale patterns you know as you do this - which notes in those patterns do the chord shapes coincide with? This association is fundamental.
    You can solo right off the chord shapes. Hold a chord, play one or two notes in it, add one or two notes you know belong to a suitable scale pattern in the same position (minor or major pent, or full diatonic). Return to chord tones. Aim to land on chord tones in the next chord.
    Then try adding chromatics - play notes a half-step below chord tones (regardless of whether they fit any pattern), resolving up to the chord tone; or following a half-step below with a scale step above and back down to the chord tone; or vice versa.
    - but always referring to chord tones as your springboard, your starting and ending notes.
     
  5. stevel

    stevel Member

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    This, IMHO is a brilliant way to think about it.

    I might however add a level within the heriarchy of "common" chromatic notes, most especially Blue Notes.

    b3, b5, and b7 are "less outside" than the other chromatic notes - or maybe I should say, they *can be* less outside in certain contexts. Obviously, b5 can impart a Locrian flair, and #4 (which is the same note) can impart a Lydian flair (among other things such as simply being chromatic passing tones). But, b5 (or #4 if you like) can really be considered Diatonic in a blues context (or maybe "incipient diatonic" - which means "almost" or "about to become" diatonic).

    So maybe Blue notes, in their quasi-diatonic context would occupy level 4, and Jon's 4 be level 5.

    Best,
    Steve
     
  6. Frusciantefan

    Frusciantefan Member

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    What JonR said. That was great.

    You can also just grab the strings as high up the fretboard as you can and bend like hell while using the whammy-bar too much. That's what all the big-shots do. :D
     
  7. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    Diatonic Hell ...

    Now That's funny ...
     
  8. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    The key, and I'm not being facetious, is to find a way to turn diatonic hell into diatonic heaven...

    ...and that's your ticket out.
     
  9. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Blue notes are indeed an interesting extra dimension, because they roam around in between the fixed 12 we generally use.
    That's as well as the deep familiarity we have (thanks to crude versions of the blues) with using a b3 and b7 in a major key context, which makes it sound more "OK" than other chromatic notes.
    The b7 would, of course, be "inside" in a mixolydian mode context (common sound in rock) - and sits against a major chord with no problem.
    The b3 and b5 are more problematic because they are a half-step away from (major) chord tones. They couldn't normally be sustained in the way a b7 can. (The b3 can when working high, as a #9. And I guess the b5 can masquerade high up as a #11 on a lydian maj7 chord...)

    So - in short! - there are indeed deeper, more subtle levels to this whole "inside-outside" hierarchy business; in that certain contexts offer greater flexibility, more tolerance of dissonance (even perhaps a different definition of it), than others.

    [Sigh] I guess this is just one more example of how attempts to build a simple theoretical model inevitably move beyond what music actually does... The more we try and pin the stuff down, the more slippery it gets...
    ;)
     
  10. JonR

    JonR Member

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    You fool! You've revealed the mystic Big Secret that only the Truly Anointed are allowed access to!
    For that, you must DIE!

    (What's the point in us all trying to make music sound complicated if ordinary people find out it's that easy????)
    :D

    HELP! MODS! Delete this dangerous post before it's too late!!! :rolleyes:
     
  11. cjcayea

    cjcayea cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce

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    wow! this really is great!

    also, that bit about dimebag and EVH. . . sometimes conviction sounds better than perfect harmony :)
     
  12. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    I was at one time. The way out was Ear Training.
     
  13. Zero G

    Zero G Member

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    +1. The more you focus on internalizing differences in intervals and tonalities, the more you can focus on making music rather than worrying about labeling everything.
     
  14. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    I try to follow some of these hints and other ideas I have but in the end I always seem to do best when I just try to hear melodies in my head that go with the rhythm or vocals. I sometimes just noodle around till I hear things that pop out of fit well. It can be tough because a lot of things I write do not have vocal melodies till the singer works on the tune. So, maybe i this case, the solo should be last on the list? No?
     
  15. Swain

    Swain Member

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    Yeah, that's a great method! Sing the Melodies, and then play them. And maybe the "Solo" should be last to get into the mix.

    Keep practicing and working on things that you don't know. And things that are unfamiliar will become more familiar and "natural" with time. Also, keep listening to musics that have those "outside" notes, vibe and tonalities. It'll come. But, it takes time.
    And eventually, it'll start creeping into your playing.

    Happy Hunting! It's a fun trip...........
     
  16. Swain

    Swain Member

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    Here's a fun one:

    Try playing Gm Pentatonic over these Chord Changes. Maybe record a Loop of them, or a 2-3 minute Groove with them.

    D#9 D7#9 Gm Gm



    Any of those Scale Notes sound kinda tense (tangy? dissonant? how would you describe them?), over the D#9? How about over the D7#9? Hear how they all seem to relax when the Gm shows up?

    Listen to how the Scale sounds over those Changes. Maybe try to describe what you are hearing and feeling. Having to actually put it into words and describe it in detail, will help you to really "get inside" what you perceive.

    Ciao for now!
     
  17. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    Thanks, I try to use what I do know and use my ear and throw in odd notes that work. I need to get better at finding the b3 and b5 faster. I was reading through my Fretboard Logic book and he talks about the blues scales so I was trying to understand how I could better see those as patterns and more easily find those notes on the fly.
     
  18. arthur rotfeld

    arthur rotfeld Member

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    There's a heaven of diatonic music if you listen to Indian Classical.....
     
  19. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    Even without the #4 .. still sounds like standard blues to moi
     
  20. doublee

    doublee Member

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    I love thse threads and thats a very nice little run there OP.

    I just wish that for retards like me you other educated guys would spell out notes instead of B3, B5, B7 etc just as an example? I been playing 30 some years and I know I should know this stuff as you describe but I am, for better or worse an 'ear' kind of guy, so if I hear it or see the notes I am fine....

    but things like the 5 off a C#m I am a little slow on, but naming the note and I am so there!

    thanks!

    ee
     

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